Cristal Sumner writes: “I am the CEO of the national charity, the British Homeopathic Association. We want to protect the public’s right to access homeopathy and other natural health options within the NHS.
The NHS is slowly dismantling our healthcare choices without proper and lawful consultation.
The NHS England Consultation on ‘Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care’ https://www.england.nhs.uk/2017/07/medicine-consultation/ included a proposal for future statutory guidance that homeopathy, in any form and in respect of any care pathway and whether in conjunction with traditional pharmaceutical medicines or otherwise, should not be prescribed to existing or new patients within the NHS. This consultation recently closed and a decision on its proposals is expected at the end of November 2017.
Many patients treated with homeopathy on the NHS have found it to be beneficial to their health, quite often after they’ve failed to respond to conventional treatments; where conventional treatments do not exist; to alleviate the side effects of conventional treatments and/or in place of antibiotics and other medicines which the NHS wishes to reduce the use of.
If the NHS proposal is approved and homeopathy is no longer prescribed on the NHS, these patients won’t disappear, they will be compelled to use more services not less, which are likely to be more expensive conventional drugs which may not be as effective.
We understand that expenditure needs to be reviewed, but that any review must be done lawfully upon proper consideration of the position.
We have commenced an application for judicial review on the basis that consultation was fundamentally flawed from the outset in that the proposal was not formulated with input from any homeopathy experts or practitioners; it was not a genuine attempt to engage consultees (a decision having been ostensibly predetermined) and did not provide consultees with adequate information on which to provide a considered and informed response. The judicial review seeks, among other things, a declaration that NHS England has acted unlawfully in relation to its proposals, its failure to consult on them properly and to listen to patients! If successful, we can protect the right of patients to choose to be treated with homeopathy on the NHS and the right of the public to properly be able to input upon the services that their National Health Service provides.
We have engaged solicitors Bates Wells Braithwaite, led by Emma Dowden-Teale, recognised for their expertise in judicial review and a highly regarded QC, Richard Clayton QC, who has an outstanding track record in cases involving public policy. We want to raise £7,500 to cover part of the legal fees for our judicial review. Once we reach this target more funds will ensure the legal challenge can proceed.
Your support will help make NHS England more accountable, defend patient choice and, more importantly, ensure patients have appropriate input on their access to cost-effective healthcare they use and need – in this case HOMEOPATHY!”